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In Conversation: Psychoanalysis and the Arts

Psychoanalysis and the Arts: In Conversation

A Question of Personal Ethics in Melissa James Gibson's 'This'


Matthew Jocelyn, artistic and general director of Canadian Stage Theatre
Mavis Himes, psyschoanalyst, Speaking of Lacan Pschoanaltic Group


THIS: a demonstrative pronoun and adjective indicating a thing or person present or near. Most likely, it derives from the Old English se or "the" representing here "a specific thing," but possibly from the Old English seo, the imperative of see, "to behold." This is often paired in an opposition with that: “if not this, then that” or “I want this, but not that.”

In Melissa James Gibson’s play This, a dark comedy, we encounter a group of adults confronting the tumultuous events of life with their contingent and accidental shifts and balances. We enter the world of these men and women and listen in as they struggle with conflicts and choices, attempting to navigate a world beyond their control. Or is it?

Using the play This, we will explore the ethics of personal choice. What does it mean to be guided by one’s desire and to live in accoradance with one’s personal ethic? What does it mean to choose this or that? What does psychoanalysis have to say about the seemingly randomness of acts and our responses to them? What are the borders we cross and crisscross either with or without our conscious awareness, and on what grounds do we live out these the choices we make?

Date: Saturday, April 6, 2013

Time: 9:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Place: Women’s Art Association, 23 Prince Arthur Avenue, Toronto, ON

Fee: $25.00 (students - $10.00)

Contact: or 416-969-8706

PLEASE NOTE: The production of This will be playing at Canstage (Berkeley St. Theatre) from March 18 to April 13, 2013. For more information and tickets, contact 416-368-3110 or

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